Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What it's like to be a Red Sox fan

I just sent a text to my 18-year-old son in college who was threatening to shoot himself.

Jokingly, I think.

“This, my son,” I wrote, “is what it’s like to be Red Sox fan. Get used to it.”

This is the Olde Towne team I fell in love with in 1967 and died with in 1975. And 1978. And 1986. And I could go on and on.

While the rest of my die-hard Red Sox Nation waited 86 years for its world championship, my oldest son waited 11 years and then he got another one three years later. The kid is spoiled. He’s never had to live through something like this.

I’ll give you the short version: Remarkably the Red Sox were all set to win and make the playoffs last night. But, in the back of the crazed minds in the Red Sox Nation, we knew their season was like a terminally ill patient. It was a just matter of time. It was inevitable there was not going to be a happy ending.

The Red Sox led their game and the Rays trailed theirs and then the rain came. It is agonizing enough to be a Red Sox fan hoping for a Yankees win – any Yankees win – but it’s even worse to feel like the Yankees were all along ready to pull the rug out from under us.

The Rays, down to their last strike of the season, rallied from being nine games down in the wild card standings and seven runs down with six outs to go to make the playoffs. The Yankees had runners at first and third and no outs in the top of the 12th and didn’t score. The Red Sox had runners at first and third and no outs in the top of the ninth and didn’t score.

Yet the Red Sox were one strike from living to another day when the Orioles rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth. The Red Sox then walked off the field and into their clubhouse and watched Evan Longoria end their season with a Pesky Pole-like strike down the leftfield line to beat the Yankees in the bottom of the 12th.

It was alternately the most exciting and most excruciating day of regular-season baseball in my life.

No tears. But then the texts started coming.

“I watched every pitch,” my son typed

“I’ve lived through every season. I will live through this,” I wrote back.

“There’s no more baseball. I can’t even comprehend what just happened,” he typed.

“It’s Red Sox baseball history in a nutshell,” I wrote back.

“We were supposed to reverse it,” he typed.

“It’s not the Curse of the Bambino anymore,” I wrote. “It’s just a curse.”

Get used to it.


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